Puck Drunk Love’s Playoff Predictions – 2nd Round

NHL-2012-Stanley-Cup-Playoffs

After a wild first round, eight teams remain to battle for the Stanley Cup. Many of the league’s powerhouses had an abrupt end to their end, as we saw Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, and Vancouver exit stage left. Will teams like Nashville and St. Louis make it to the Western Conference finals? Will the Capitals find playoff success past the first round? Time will tell.

Follow along as the writers have come back to make predictions for the second round of the 2012 NHL Playoffs. Be sure to include your picks by leaving a comment down below.

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Let the second round begin!

David Rogers:

Nashville vs. Phoenix

Predators in 6.
Phoenix has been a great story again this season but their ride ends at the hands of Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber. Mike Smith has to come back down to Earth eventually, right? Ultimately, like the other Western series, it will be a battle of netminders. My money would be on Rinne to emerge on top.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles

Blues in 7.
On paper, these two teams are essentially identical. LA has more “star power” while the Blues can counter with better depth and a better balance of forwards. Good luck trying to find offense in this series with Quick on one end and Elliott / Halak on the other. This one comes down to which team can capitalize on the power play and which team makes fewer mistakes. The Blues may be young but their determination under Ken Hitchcock carries them past Los Angeles.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

Devils in 7
We learned in the Pittsburgh/Philadelphia series that the Flyers have plenty of weaknesses both on defense and between the pipes. Though the Flyers can post some gaudy offensive numbers, they’ll have a much more difficult time going up against a New Jersey defense that notoriously stifles opponents in the playoffs. Do you really trust Ilya Bryzgalov more than Martin Brodeur? I didn’t think so.

Washington vs. New York

Rangers in 6
The Braden Holtby story has been one of the best in the playoffs thus far. His play mixed with a more gritty attitude from Washington helped carry them past the Boston Bruins in seven games. Plenty of questions still surround Holtby here in the second round yet my question is whether Washington can match the intensity and  ”playoff grit” the Rangers will throw at them. Old habits reemerge for the Capitals, sending the Rangers through to the Conference Finals.

Laura Astorian:

Nashville vs. Phoenix

Nashville in 6. It’s going to be a close series, because of Mike Smith and Pekka Rinne, but I think that Nashville might have too much oomph for the Coyotes. I hope not, because I’d rather not see my pick for the next round have to play the Preds, but I have a feeling that’s how it’ll work out.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles

St. Louis in 6. Another goaltending battle’s going to wind up making this a super close series, but Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund are absolute gold right now. Add a few other guys getting hot, and the Blues might maybe be able to sneak a whole two pucks by Jonathan Quick one game.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

New Jersey in 6. Brodeur’s streaky, but he’s not Byrz streaky. Or weird.

Washington vs. New York

Rangers in 7. Holtby’ll keep the Caps in this one, but it’ll be tough for them to get past Lundqvist.

Since I was wrong in round one in nearly every single case, I’ll probably be wrong here. There’s a reason I’m not a bettin’ woman.

J.P. Quayle:

Nashville vs. Phoenix

Predators in 5.
This is a series that could easily go to seven games. However, I think the Predators will take advantage of missing out on Vancouver for the second round and will hit the gas pedal. There are plenty of players on that roster that know how good of team they have. The opportunity is now and the Preds won’t take that for granted.

St. Louis vs. Los Angeles

Kings in 7.
In the first round, I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of the Kings. After seeing them for a few games, I think they have what it takes to get to the Western Conference Finals. The Blue will not be an easy team to face but Jonathan Quick will hold the fort. Los Angeles’ attention to being defensively responsible paired with the knowledge of the veterans will leave them on top.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

Flyers in 6
Not only do the Flyers have an unstable goalie, but their defense is suffering from some significant injuries. So why in the world would I pick the Flyers in 6? The offense. Yes, facing the Devils is the last team that Philadelphia would want to face in the East. Despite that, this team can fill the net, get under your skin, and cause havoc. Bryzgalov will play well enough for the Flyers to win.

Washington vs. New York

Rangers in 7
Holtby’s swagger will be about the only thing that the Rangers won’t be wear down. The net minder’s great story will face an abrupt ending after the Rangers slowly grind away at any resistance Washington will throw the New York’s way. Look for Lundqvist and the NYR defense to decide this series.

Joe Tetreault

Nashville vs. Phoenix

Predators in 5. – There is about a dime’s difference between Pekka Rinne and Miek Smith. Both have been solid number one goalies and have backstopped their teams through the Conference Quarters. Nashville has a better power play and more firepower period. They are surprisingly even in the matchup, but the Preds played solid hockey across the board in dispatching the Wings and they get my nod to advance.

Los Angeles vs. St. Louis

Blues in 6 – In picking the Kings to topple the President’s Cup winning Canucks I was betting on them getting just enough offense to accompany the stellar play of Jonathan Quick. It turns out the offense brought their A game, tallying 4 goals in each of the first two contests in Vancouver and driving Roberto Luongo out of the series. But St. Louis just has too much depth and their tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott while not in the same class as Quick were plenty stingy.

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia

Flyers in 6 – Philadelphia’s victory over Pittsburgh was a cake walk compared to the grueling seven games the other Eastern Conference first round winners dealt with. They are by no means fresh and the feeling that Ilya Bryzgalov is about to let in a half dozen can never be put totally out of mind. However, It’s been eight seasons since Martin Brodeur got the Devils out of the Conference Semis. And this Flyers team is young, and playing with confidence.

Washington vs. New York Rangers

Rangers in 6 - Henrik Lundqvist had fits with the Senators and the Rangers penchant for forgetting how to score haunted them in round 1. But he remains a fantastic goalie and they remain the fiercest defensive squad in the East. Washington’s victory over the Bruins is a positive step for a Caps team that underachieved all season. Braden Holtby and the Caps slow it down defense worked against Boston, but out hustling the Rangers will take a lot more than the Caps have shown all year.

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Be sure to check back soon as there possibly be more writer picks to come!

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